featured Archives - Urban Outdoors
Tag

featured

Browsing

While DC is best known for its museums, monuments, and memorials, it’s also a city full of waterways and green spaces to explore. One of the best ways to explore the city is from the river, and kayaking in DC is the perfect way to do it. Luckily, there are tons of places to go paddling around the city that give you a unique perspective of the Capital City’s famed buildings and monuments.

In this guide, we’ll share the best places to go kayaking in and around Washington, DC, as well as some of our top recommended kayak rental companies in DC. We’ve also included a few of our favorite kayaking tours in DC, in case you’d like to opt for a guided experience.

Best Places to Go Kayaking in DC

If you’re looking for a short, convenient kayaking adventure, there are tons of options for places to go kayaking in DC’s city limits. Read on for some of the best places to paddle in the capital city!

Georgetown is one of DC’s most popular kayaking spots for a reason: tree-lined riverbanks and historic views.

1. Georgetown

There’s no better place to go kayaking in DC than in one of its most historic and iconic neighborhoods: Georgetown. Filled with charming row houses, old industrial buildings, and tree-lined streets, Georgetown is a wonderful area to spend a day.

However, the best part of Georgetown is its bustling waterfront, which offers several opportunities to get out on the water. While there are boat tours and dinner cruises aplenty, we strongly recommend exploring the Potomac by kayak. If you choose to go kayaking in Georgetown, you’ll be rewarded with stunning views of Georgetown University, the Kennedy Center, and nearby Roslyn (in Virginia).

Where to Rent a Kayak in Georgetown: Georgetown’s kayak rental location is at the Key Bridge Boathouse, on the waterfront under the bridge. Their rates start at $16/hour for a single kayak and $22/hour for a double kayak.

  • Address: 3500 Water Str. NW, Washington, DC 20007

Click here to see our complete list of kayaking gear essentials to bring with you 

2. Potomac to Rock Creek

For a bit of a quieter, greener location to go kayaking in DC, paddling up Rock Creek Park from the Potomac is a fantastic choice. Situated in the West End neighborhood, this is one of the largest parks in the city, spanning over 1,700 acres of green forests and walkways to escape the city streets for a while.

While there are plenty of running and biking trails all over the park, you can also paddle through the waters of Rock Creek nearest to the Potomac. However, be sure to stay where the creek is wide and easy to maneuver, and don’t venture into the creek itself – the waters there are extremely technical and should only be tackled by experts.

Where to Rent a Kayak near Rock Creek Park: The nearest kayak rental to Rock Creek is Thompson Boat Center. It’s located on the far end of the Georgetown Waterfront where the Potomac meets Rock Creek. Their rates start at $16/hour for a single kayak and $22/hour for a double kayak.

  • Address: 2900 Virginia Ave NW, Washington, DC 20037
The kayaks are located in a prime location on the Wharf – right on the main pier!

3. The Wharf

Home to a marina and DC’s historic Fish Market, The Wharf is now a bustling waterfront area full of upscale restaurants, high-end apartments, and a popular concert venue, The Anthem.

The Wharf also a prime location for kayaking, as it’s located near Navy Yard and the eastern side of DC. Here, you can paddle through the marina area along the banks of East Potomac Park, an especially beautiful area during cherry blossom season in the spring. From the waterways surrounding The Wharf, you can catch glimpses of the new International Spy Museum, or kayak all the way down to Navy Yard.

Where to Rent a Kayak in the Wharf: The Wharf Boathouse is located on the pier in front of the Hyatt House Hotel. You can rent a kayak starting at $16/hour for a single and $22/hour for a double.

4. Navy Yard/Anacostia River

Navy Yard is one of DC’s coolest up-and-coming neighborhoods located on the banks of the Anacostia River. Situated near Nationals Park, this riverfront area is the perfect place to grab a kayak and explore the eastern side of the city.

From the Anacostia River, you can see the historic Navy Yard and the Nationals ballpark to the north and the greenery of Anacostia Park to the south. Or, alternatively, you can paddle to Hains Point, the southernmost point of East Potomac Park.

Where to Rent a Kayak in Navy Yard: Ballpark Boathouse is your one-stop shop for all things kayaking/paddling in Navy Yard. You can rent a kayak starting at $16/hour for a single and $22/hour for a double.

  • Address: Potomac Ave SE and First Street SE, Washington, DC 20003
Washington Sailing Marina -- Daingerfield Island Alexandria (VA) June 2016
The Washington Sailing Marina is a lovely place to begin a kayaking adventure in DC!
Credit: Ron Cogswell (Flickr Creative Commons)

5. Washington Sailing Marina

Located south of the Pentagon, the Washington Sailing Marina is a wonderful, less crowded area to begin your kayaking adventure. The Washington Sailing Marina is technically located in Alexandria, VA, but we’ll count it since it’s within eyeshot of Washington, DC… With access to the Potomac River as well as the mouth of the Four Mile Run, it’s a great area to spend a few hours paddling around between DC and Virginia.

From the Washington Sailing Marina, you can kayak all the way up to the south end of East Potomac Park, which is a beautiful urban green space in DC. Alternatively, stick around the nearby areas of the Potomac and watch as planes land and take off above you from Reagan National Airport.

Where to Rent a Kayak in the Washington Sailing Marina: The Washington Sailing Marina has its own boathouse where you can rent kayaks, stand up paddleboards, and more. You can also take sailing lessons here, or enjoy a riverside meal at Island Time Bar & Grill.

  • Address: 1 Marina Dr, Alexandria, VA 22314

6. National Harbor

Think about your classic, Ferris wheel-laden boardwalk with tons of tourists, shops, and restaurants, and you’ve got DC’s National Harbor. Yup, you heard that right – the National Harbor is an entertainment hub, with tons of places to eat and drink, a large Ferris wheel, and an enormous MGM casino/resort.

Like the Washington Sailing Marina, the National Harbor isn’t technically in DC, but we’ve included it here because it’s close enough and can be reached by public transportation from downtown. It’s also a unique area to go kayaking in DC, since it’s a bit farther out from the city center. Kayaking here will give you a unique perspective of the National Harbor and the surrounding areas.

Located across the Potomac River from Alexandria, you can catch great views of the banks of Old Town Alexandria, or paddle along the banks of the Potomac River Waterfront Park.

Where to Rent a Kayak in the National Harbor: The National Harbor Boathouse has kayaks available for rent for reasonable prices. Since it’s run by the same company as the others listed in this post, the prices are the same: $16/hour for a single and $22/hour for a double kayak.

  • Address: 165 Waterfront Street, Oxon Hill, MD 20745

Map of DC’s Best Kayaking Spots

For you visual folks out there, here’s a handy map that shows all 6 of the places to go kayaking in DC that we’ve listed above (click on the point to see more information):

Best Places to Go Kayaking Near DC

While there are lots of places within DC to go kayaking, there are also plenty of awesome nature kayaking opportunities withing a few hours of the city. Based on locals’ recommendations, here are some of the most beautiful and popular places to go kayaking near DC:

There are some serious rapids at Great Falls – not for the inexperienced or the faint of heart!

7. Great Falls Park

People don’t usually think of whitewater rapids when they think of Washington DC. However, you can find both at Great Falls! Located just outside of Washington DC, Great Falls Park is a federally protected area that straddles the Potomac River into Virginia and Maryland. Marked by tons of hiking trails and lookout points, the main attraction is the Great Falls cascade, which is a series of waterfalls spanning the width of the river.

Not for the faint of heart, Great Falls has rapids up to class 6, so this definitely isn’t an area for beginner kayakers. However, if you’ve got the experience and you’re up for the challenge, advanced kayakers will find a unique and thrilling experience in the rapids of Great Falls.

*Note: There’s no place to rent a kayak at Great Falls, but you can take a guided tour/lesson with Potomac Paddle Sports that provides equipment. For more detailed information about this route, check out this guide.

The calm waters of the C&O canal are a beginner-friendly contrast to Great Falls.

8. Chesapeake & Ohio Canal

For those wanting to kayak in a more natural setting without the adrenaline rush of Great Falls, the Chesapeake & Ohio (C&O) Canal is an excellent choice. This historic canal was once used as a shipping route, as it extends all the way to Ohio! Today, it’s a gorgeous recreation area with miles of trails and calm waterways, perfect for exploring by foot or boat. As far as kayaking near DC goes, it doesn’t get much better than the C&O canal.

The canal runs parallel to the Potomac River for several miles and has much more controlled rapids, meaning calmer waters for kayakers of all levels. Renting a kayak to explore the C&O Canal is a fantastic way to immerse yourself in quiet nature, without having to stray too far from DC’s city limits.

Where to Rent a Kayak Near the C&O Canal: Fletcher’s Boathouse is located right next to the C&O Canal and is the perfect place to rent a kayak, with access to both the canal and the Potomac River. You can rent a kayak starting at $16/hour for a single and $22/hour for a double.

  • Address: 4940 Canal Rd NW, Washington, D.C. 20007

9. Dyke Marsh

Located less than 30 minutes outside of DC’s city limits, Dyke Marsh is a fabulous place to go kayaking near DC. Dyke Marsh is actually a wildlife preserve and is home to dozens of species of birds, plants, and other wildlife. Much of the area where Washington, DC now stands used to be made of these freshwater tidal wetlands, but today, Dyke Marsh is one of the few remaining conservation areas.

Luckily, there are several ways to explore Dyke Marsh, with kayaking as one of the best. You can paddle through the wetlands and keep an eye out for bird species like loons, egrets, and herons.

Where to Rent a Kayak Near Dyke Marsh: Belle Haven Marina is a boating marina that offers kayak rentals. From there, you can paddle to Dyke Marsh and its surrounding areas.

  • Address: 6401 George Washington Memorial Pkwy, Alexandria, VA 22307
Photo Credit: F Delventhal (Flickr CC)

10. Mallows Bay

Possibly one of the most unique areas to go kayaking near DC is at Mallows Bay, MD. Here, you can find hundreds of abandoned or wrecked ships that dot the shoreline, some dating back to as early as the 1770s. For the urban explorers out there, this DC kayaking spot is one of the coolest and most unique spectacles of history, abandonment, and decay.

To kayak at Mallows Bay Skip Graveyard, you have to book a guided tour. This will not only take you to the best spots, but will also provide you with a local expert who can share historical information about the ships.

How to Kayak in Mallows Bay: Atlantic Kayak offers guided tours to Mallows Bay and they have excellent reviews from locals and travelers alike.

Photo Credit: Jeff Kubina (Flickr)

11. Patuxent River

For peace and tranquility just a few minutes outside of DC, the Patuxent River Park area in Price George’s County spans 7,500 acres of conservation land. Here, you’ll trade museums and monuments for leisurely riverbanks and greenery.

Wildlife lovers, outdoor enthusiasts, and bird watchers will love everything the Patuxent River has to offer. Moreover, there are several picturesque places to go kayaking near DC in the Patuxent River area, and it’s suitable for kayakers of all levels. Pair a day of kayaking with an evening of camping or an afternoon of hiking and you’ll be sure to have a memorable adventure!

Where to Rent a Kayak at the Patuxent River: The Patuxent River Park authority offers its own canoe and kayak rentals at very reasonable rates (just $20/day!).

  • Address: 6600 Kenilworth Avenue, Riverdale, MD 20737

Where to Rent a Kayak in DC

Wondering where you can get your feet wet with kayaking? Here are a few of the most highly-recommended places where you can find DC kayak rentals:

  • Boating in DC is the biggest (and most prevalent) boat rental company in the DC area. They offer the largest selection of kayak rentals in DC, including all of the places listed previously in this article. Their rates are affordable ($16/hour for a single kayak and $22/hour for a double kayak, with a maximum of $88/day). Most days, you can simply walk up to a boathouse to rent a kayak without a reservation. Life jackets are included in the price of any kayak rental.
  • Outside of the city, there are several other kayak rental companies near DC, depending on where you want to go. We’ve included several options throughout this post, but if there’s somewhere specific that you want to go, Google Maps is a great resource for finding a nearby kayak rental company.
Even if you’ve never been kayaking before, there are plenty of safe places to learn in Washington, DC!

Best Lessons & Kayaking Tours in Washington, DC

Interested in learning more about kayaking in DC? Look no further than these guided tours and kayaking outfitters, which offer a wide range of services tailored to paddlers of all levels:

  • Potomac Paddlesports is a kayaking lesson provider in the DC metropolitan area. They offer longer excursions in the area as well as across Maryland.
  • Active Nature offers beginner-friendly kayak and stand up paddleboard (SUP) lessons in Washington, D.C.

Additional Resources


Did you enjoy this post? Don’t forget to pin it for later!

Looking for fun things to do in Washington DC? Kayaking easily tops the list! With so many waterways and historic sites, there are tons of places to go kayaking in DC. This is the most comprehensive guide out there for kayaking in Washington DC! #WashingtonDC #USA #Kayaking #Outdoors

*The featured image in this post was taken by Potomac Conservancy and used by Skyline Adventurer under a Creative Commons license.

For outdoor lovers, no gift is better than the opportunity to get outside. However, when it comes time to choose a present for your outdoorsy friends and family, the best gifts are those that make being outside for long stretches of time easier and more comfortable. To help you choose the absolutely perfect present for your adventurous loved one, we’ve created this complete guide to the 50+ best, most practical gifts for outdoor lovers that they’ll be sure to love and use for years to come.

Overall Best Gifts for Outdoor Lovers

Hydro Flask Water Bottle

Hydration is a very important part of staying healthy while outdoors, as hours in the sun and can really dehydrate you. To keep water ice cold, a Hydro Flask water bottle is the perfect adventure companion. Hydro Flask boasts that its bottles keep water cold for 24 hours and hot for 12 hours…definitely enough for a cold morning or a full day out on the trails.

SteriPen Adventurer

Having access to clean water while outside is a must, so a water purification system is one of the most helpful gifts for outdoor lovers that you can give. We recommend the USB-rechargeable SteriPen Ultra, which is must lighter than the other products in the SteriPen line, and purifies water using UV light.

Merino Wool Baselayers

Many people who go outside often, especially at higher altitudes, need warm baselayers, and they make for some of the most practical outdoor gifts out there. Smartwool’s Merino 250 baselayer line offers extra-warm, cozy layers that wick sweat and moisture seamlessly on the trails and slopes.

Buff

For outdoor lovers, there are few things as versatile as a Buff. They advertise that it can be worn in 12+ different ways, and it’s touted as 4 times warmer than microfiber. A Buff is great to wear as a scarf, to tie hair back, or to protect your face from dust and wind.

Black Diamond Head Lamp

Sometimes, the best times to be outdoors are in the early morning and late in the afternoon. However, if your loved one plans adventures in non-optimal daylight, it’s critical to bring a lighting source. Needless to say, a head lamp is one of the best gifts for hikers because it’s truly an essential item. Our favorite head lamp is the Black Diamond Spot – it’s lightweight, durable, and isn’t too expensive.

Keen Hiking Boots

Truly the only item that someone needs to get out on the trails is a good set of shoes, and a waterproof set of hiking boots is the perfect companion for an intrepid hiker that loves to be outdoors, rain or shine. Keen waterproof hiking boots are durable and waterproof, with thick treads and fabrics that will keep your feet safe and dry, no matter the conditions. They also come in styles for both men and women.

Sunglasses

Don’t underestimate how powerful sun exposure can be on a long day outdoors. One of the most useful gifts for hikers is a pair of high-quality, polarized sunglasses to keep their eyes safe and protected while exposed to the sun. There are tons of polarized sunglasses ranging in style and price available, so you’ll have to choose based on your favorite hiker’s preferences.

The North Face Venture Rain Jacket

Every hiker knows that conditions in the mountains can change in an instant. That’s why a rain jacket is one of the smartest and most practical gifts for hikers. The North Face Venture Jacket (for women and men) is a versatile, waterproof jacket for rainy and wet hiking conditions.

Patagonia Down Sweater

While outdoors in colder temperatures, it can be important to bring some extra layers, especially if you’re going to be at altitude. The Patagonia Down Sweater is our favorite compressible puffer because it’s a sustainably-made, warm, and cozy thermal layer for cold conditions. When paired with a rain jacket, it can keep your adventurer warm even in light snow!

Osprey Day Pack

Often for outdoor adventures, people need to carry gear, water, snacks, and extra clothing. Having a day pack that feels comfortable and distributes weight evenly is absolutely critical. Osprey day packs are hands down the best and more durable option for day packs – we recommend a size between 18 and 30 liters for daytime adventures.

Waterproof Day Pack Cover

In addition to a day pack, another great outdoor gift is a weatherproof, waterproof day pack cover. This will not only keep your loved one’s backpack dry, but will protect all of the contents inside in case of bad weather out in the trails or on the mountain.

Quick Dry Towel

A towel can come in handy on any hiking trip. From humid, sweaty trails to impromptu swimming sessions, outdoorsy people can always use a towel that’s small and thin enough to carry around in a day pack. Youphoria Outdoors makes an affordable quick-dry microfiber towel that comes in a lot of fun colors and is perfect for shoving in your bag on the way out to the trails.

Cheap Gifts for Outdoor Lovers on a Budget (Under $25)

Smartwool Wool Socks

It might seem obvious, but think, durable socks are a must-have item in any intrepid person’s wardrobe. Smartwool’s hiking socks are great companions out on the trails! They’re warm, quick drying, and are super cushioned and comfortable. Give one pair or a few for an extra special outdoor gift!

Darn Tough Yeti Mountain-Themed Socks

What’s better than regular wool socks? Wool socks with mountains on them, duh. Outdoorsy people love to show off their love for the mountains, and these Darn Tough Yeti wool socks will surely come in handy on the slopes and trails, and is one of the most relevant gifts for outdoor lovers.

Snacks

Snacks are a gift that keeps on giving, especially out on the trails where you’re expending energy and burning calories left and right.

From our own experience, some snacks that hikers like include:

  • Clif bars
  • Kind bars
  • Gu gels (caffeinated and uncaffeinated)
  • Trail mix
  • Jerky (vegan and meat varieties)

Sawyer Products Permethrin Spray

Often, regular bug spray can be oily, greasy, or uncomfortable. That’s why we’d recommend Sawyer Products Permethrin Spray to bug-proof your clothing and bags, instead! This spray is light and fabric-friendly, meaning you can spray it on any clothing to make it bus-resistant.

Sun Bum Sunscreen

Sunscreen is another must-have for any outdoor lover to protect your skin from the harsh UV rays of the sun. We use and recommend Sun Bum sunscreen because it’s a) PABA-free and b) reef safe. Generally, this means that it’s free of harsh chemicals and is safe for marine life, including coral reefs.

Carabiners

Carabiners are literally the most useful and versatile item for hikers. Use them to strap things on your bags, to your pants, or onto trees. Hook your bags to your tent while you’re sleeping, or hang dry wet clothes. You can buy a set of 10 colorful carabiners for cheap, and they’ll last your loved ones for a long time.

Hiking Trowel

When you’ve got to go, you’ve got to go…and a trowel can help you cover up when you’re doing your business in the woods. The best, most useful trowels are lightweight and have a small loop to hook to the outside of your backpack (with a carabiner!). This hiking trowel is a great, inexpensive gift option for the serious hiker.

Beanie

In colder or windy conditions, a beanie is one of the most practical gifts for outdoor lovers because it can help keep them safe and warm. For outdoor adventures, you don’t need anything fancy, so something like this affordable beanie from Neff is a perfect stocking stuffer for your favorite hiker, biker, or runner.

The North Face e-Tip Gloves

While only really relevant for colder climates, a good pair of gloves can help hikers stay outdoors later in the season, and in higher altitudes where the air tends to be chillier and windier. The North Face e-Tip Gloves are a great hiking companion because they work with touch screens like phones and tablets…meaning you don’t have to take them off for anything, really.

Sneaker Balls/Boot Fresheners

Nothing says “I love you” more than giving someone a gift to freshen their stinky shoes, right? Well, for people who spend a lot of time outside, a gift like this is totally welcome, because those shoes get muddy, damp, sweaty and downright disgusting somethings. Scented Sneaker Balls are an inexpensive, kind of hilarious option for a stocking stuffer or gift for your favorite outdoor lover.

Waterproof Phone Case

For people who spend lots of time in the water, a waterproof phone case is an easy and affordable gift that will go a long way. This case can protect a phone in the event of immersion in the water, and has a strap that users can clip onto a life jacket or a kayak for easy access.

Dark Skies by Valerie Stimac

Many people don’t think of night-time as the best time to be outdoors, but Dark Skies by Valerie Stimac will show you otherwise. This vibrant book of beautiful spots for stargazing will definitely pique your interest about the night sky, and inspire you to get out more when it’s dark and clear out. (Plus, Valerie is a friend of ours and is an expert on the space tourism world over on her blog, Space Tourism Guide!)

Into the Wild by Jon Krakauer

There’s no story more famous (or infamous) than that of Christopher (Alexander “Supertramp”) McCandless. Jon Krakauer documents this bittersweet tale about a suburban young man who hitchhikes across country and travels to Alaska to embark into the wilderness alone. Into the Wild by Jon Krakauer is one of the most famous outdoor books out there, and is a stark reminder of the sheer force and power of nature vs. humanity.

A Walk in the Woods by Bill Bryson

For a great fireside book or a read for the hammock after a long day on the trails, A Walk in the Woods by Bill Bryson is a quintessential read. As an intimate, detailed, entertaining journey into the backwoods of the Appalachian Trail, it’s a fantastic and memorable read for anyone who is passionate about exploration, hiking, or seeing the world and nature from a different lens.

Wild by Cheryl Strayed

There are few novels in the hiking genre than Wild by Cheryl Strayed. This popular hiking novel is a classic, especially for adventurous female hikers who are looking for an emotional and physical journey through the Pacific Crest Trail with renowned author Cheryl Strayed.

Practical Gifts for Outdoor Lovers

Swimsuit

A swimsuit is a must for anyone who loves the water and especially the outdoors, and is one of the best gifts for outdoor lovers. Here are our recommendations for swimsuits:

  • Women’s Swimwear: While there are tons of women’s swimsuit companies out there, our favorite for kayaking (and other water sports) is Summersalt. They’ve got tons of cute, colorful styles that stay put if you’re fighting rapids or taking a dip in the water. Click here to browse Summersalt swimsuits.
  • Men’s Swimwear: Original Penguin has some fantastic options for men’s swimwear – our readers love them because they’re comfortable and durable, and they have tons of different styles to choose from. Click here to browse Original Penguin swim styles.

Dry Bag

Water sports lovers will need a bag to put them in. Instead of a traditional canvas backpack, we recommend packing stuff into a dry bag, which will keep valuables dry and safe in the water. Dry bags come in lots of shapes and sizes, but the best ones have a top that rolls up and buckles to keep water out. We strongly recommend a waterproof dry bag as a gift for kayakers, canoers, paddle boarders, and swimmers!

Helmet

A helmet can come in handy for a lot of outdoor activities, from rock climbing to biking to skiing and snowboarding. While the helmets for each of these activities are slightly different, you may want to consider doing some research into sport helmets for your loved ones’ favorite outdoor activities.

Trekking Poles

Hikers often face trails and conditions where extra support is extremely helpful. That’s why one of the most useful gifts for hikers is a set of durable, portable trekking poles. Leki Foldable Trekking Poles are perfect for traveling hikers, as they’ll fit into a standard suitcase and are extremely light weight.

Binoculars

For wildlife watching just about anywhere in the world, a good pair of binoculars is essential, and makes a great gift for outdoor lovers. These affordable, lightweight binoculars are a great starting point for hikers or bird watchers who enjoy getting a closer look at wildlife, but there are several types of binoculars that come in a variety of zoom lengths and quality.

Sweat-Wicking Cap

When you’re outside for hours in the hot, direct sun, it’s really easy to get a sunburn, and a hat can help prevent that. Any hat will make a great gift, but this one by TrailHeads comes in a bunch of colors and is super lightweight and breathable.

ENO DoubleNest Hammock

When you’ve been outside for hours and are ready for a rest, there’s no better feeling than setting up your hammock between two tall trees and relaxing with someone you love. An ENO DoubleNest Hammock is one of coolest gifts for outdoor lovers that you can give to a person or couple…especially hikers and campers. It’s super portable, lightweight, and easy to set up basically anywhere with trees.

Helinox Ultralight Chair

Most outdoorsy people find pleasure in simply hanging out in the woods, and one great way to do that in comfort is with a Helinox Ultralight Chair. This foldable chair is super light and easy to carry, making it a perfect hiking or camping companion so you can sit and savor the best views along the way.

YETI Hopper Backflip Cooler

Before you freak out about the price of a YETI cooler, we’ll say one thing: these things last FOREVER. They’re heavy-duty and durable, made to be your cooler companion for life. If your loved one enjoys toting food and drinks to their favorite trails and parks, the YETI Hopper Backflip Cooler is a backpack-style cooler that’s perfect for adventures.

Big Agnes Tiger Wall Ultralight Tent

This is obvious, but outdoor lovers will need something to protect them from the elements while camping. The Big Agnes Tiger Wall tent is lightweight and easy to set up, perfect for backpacking trips or walk-up campsites. While they’re not cheap, think of this as a big splurge that will (hopefully) enable you and your loved ones to make great outdoor memories for years.

Kelty Cosmic Down Sleeping Bag

Even in hotter climates, campers will usually want something to cover their body while sleeping. A good, versatile sleeping bag and inflatable mat will come in handy for any outdoor lover. For use in different climates, you’ll want to give your loved ones a thermal, zippered sleeping bag like the Kelty Cosmic Down.

Jetboil Sumo Camping Stove

While hiking or camping, it is a LOT easier to cook things on a stove than on an open fire. The Jetboil Sumo camping stove system is small, lightweight, and compressible, perfect for backpacking or road trips for your favorite outdoor lover.

Complete Mess Kit

Not going to lie, we think this is one of the coolest gadgets on our list: a camping mess kit that folds out into a 10-piece dining set! Your loved one can use it to cook and clean while hiking or camping, and it all collapses into one easy-to-carry piece they can use again and again.

Reusable Snack Bags

Leave No Trace is a big movement in the outdoor industry right now, and that includes trash from snacks and drinks. One of the best ways to support this great movement and the people who believe in it is by enabling good behaviors, and reusable silicone snack bags are a super simple and impactful gift that does so.

Hiking Dog Harness

If your adventurous loved one has a dog (or IS a dog…), a hiking harness is a perfect gift for adventurous pups. This hiking dog harness has two small pouches for things like treats and toys, and is a comfortable alternative to a collar for long hours on the trails.

Foam Roller

Outdoor sports and activities can cause all kinds of muscle aches and pains. A foam roller is often a runner’s favorite tool for post-run stretching, massage, and relieving tension after hours of racing through the streets and trails. If you’re looking for something that will get used by your favorite runner all the time, a good, solid foam roller like this one is one of the best gifts for runners.

Outside Magazine Subscription

Outside Magazine is the go-to magazine for outdoor sports and adventures, and it’s an industry favorite for inspiring and moving stories about nature and outdoor feats. An Outside Magazine annual subscription is a fantastic gift for anyone who loves the outdoors and spends a lot of time outside on adventures.

National Geographic Magazine Subscription

National Geographic is THE magazine for adventure lovers, with a history of exploration that dates back to the 1880s. Your loved ones can find some of the best, most inspiring landscape photography and adventure stories in every issue of National Geographic, making an annual subscription a fantastic gift that keeps on giving.

REI Co-Op Membership or Gift Card

REI is any outdoor lover’s paradise, with awesome, durable gear and clothing for any adventure outside. They’re a co-op, meaning that you can pay to be a member and get discounts and dividends based on the purchases you make in-store. You can buy your loved one a lifetime co-op membership or a gift card to let them choose their own adventures.

Technology Outdoor Gifts

Garmin Watch

Garmin watches are basically the smartphones for outdoor people. Garmin’s GPS capabilities are some of the best out there, and their Forerunner watches help thousands of runners, hikers, and skiers track mileage around the world. Their newest version, the Garmin Forerunner 245, comes in a music and non-music version, and has a screen that shows you your stats for each run or hike.

Apple Watch Series 5

For those wanting a more integrated running watch that syncs with an iPhone, an Apple Watch can definitely do the trick. It can track your distance and speed through apps like Runkeeper, and can also sync with the music, messaging, and calls on your phone. It’s definitely a more expensive option, but it’s a great all-in-one splurge for your favorite runner that they’ll definitely wear all the time.

GoPro Hero Black

A GoPro Hero Black is an excellent gift for the avid adventure lover who wants to document their time on the trails and in the water. Portable, weatherproof, and high-quality, a GoPro will help your favorite outdoor lover capture and relive their favorite moments on the trails again and again.

Sony a6400 Mirrorless Camera

If your loved one is into photography or video and wants something that takes higher-quality images than a phone, a Sony a6400 mirrorless camera is a perfect companion for outdoor lovers. It’s light, compact, and durable, making it great for windy or dusty conditions. The Sony mirrorless line is the best in class for compact, professional-grade cameras, and the a6400 is the newest, most robust iteration of their a6000 line.

Additional Resources


You’ve probably found your way to this snowboarding tips for beginners article because you’re considering going snowboarding for the first time, or you’ve already started snowboarding and want to sharpen your skills. I get it – as a first-time snowboarder at the ripe age of 27, I spent a long time navigating the bunny hills and green runs before feeling comfortable and speedy on my board. There is no magical formula to learn snowboarding for beginners, but there are some things you can do to make the learning process much easier. To help you get going on the slopes as quickly as possible, I’ve compiled the best beginner snowboarding tips that helped me start shredding the slopes successfully in just a couple of days.

Before Hitting the Slopes: Beginner Snowboarding Tips

1. Make sure you have the proper gear

Having the right gear can make or break your experience riding in the snow. Snowboarding for beginners is hard enough, and having clothes that aren’t suitable for snow will make it even harder to learn! Think about it – without the right clothes and equipment, you’ll be cold, wet, and weighted down by damp, heavy clothes that won’t dry. On the other hand, with high-quality gear, you’ll stay warm, dry, and free to enjoy the slopes. The most important things to have for your first time on the slopes are:

  • A waterproof jacket
  • A waterproof pair of pants
  • Comfortable base layers
  • Thick socks
  • Mittens or gloves
  • Neck gaiter
  • Helmet
  • Goggles

You don’t need anything fancy for your first time on the slopes. We’d recommend digging through your closet and finding clothes you already have before investing tons of money into high-end ski or snowboard gear. Just make sure to avoid moisture-absorbing fabrics like cotton or denim, and instead opt for moisture-wicking wool or technical synthetics like nylon and polyester.

In addition to snow-friendly gear, we’d strongly recommend getting some protective gear for your first few days on the slopes. These can include helmets, wrist guards, knee pads, and padded shorts for added protection when you fall. It’s common to end up with injured or bruised wrists, knees, shins, and tailbones from snowboarding, so taking these small preventative steps ahead of time can help mitigate the risk of injury when you’re on the slopes for the first time.


Our Snowboarding Gear Guides


An example of a trail map from Aspen/Snowmass – you can see the different lifts and color-coded trails, as well as lodges, eateries, and other points of reference.

2. Plan your day on the slopes in advance

Before you head out to the resort of your choice, it’s a good idea to plan out your day so you can maximize your time learning and riding. If you haven’t chosen a resort yet, you can so some destination research to find the nearest ski resort to your own city. Generally, the larger resorts will have a wider range of runs, and typically offer the best resources (lessons, rentals, etc.) for beginners.

After choosing the resort you’re going to explore, check out the weather conditions and slope reports on the resort’s website. For learning, it’s wise to avoid days where it’s going to rain or be too hot, which results in poor snow conditions. Sometimes, certain resorts have to close several runs due to inclement weather, so you’ll want to make sure the beginner terrain is open for your desired dates.

Lastly, check out a trail map for the resort you’re planning on visiting. A trail map is an illustrated map that shows the various groomed trails available at the park. Usually, ski resorts use the following designations:

  • Green square/green trails = beginner-friendly trails
  • Blue circle/blue trails = intermediate trails
  • Black diamond/black trails = advanced trails
  • Double black diamond/black trails = expert-only trails
  • Orange bar/orange areas = terrain parks

You can use the trail map to determine best areas for beginner riding. There’s usually a learning “bunny hill” at each resort that’s smaller and milder than the longer runs, and this is always a place to begin. You can also map out a few green runs you’d like to try and take note of the names of the lifts that service them (you definitely don’t want to get on the wrong lift, only to realize there are no easy slopes coming down from it!). In the beginning, you’ll want to avoid narrow trails, advanced trails, trails with trees or obstacles, and terrain parks.

3. Book a lesson (& look for deals)

If you have the money to invest in a lesson, we’d strongly recommend taking one for your first day on the slopes. Not only will a professional instructor be able to teach you much more quickly than a YouTube video or a friend (or an Urban Outdoors article about snowboarding tips for beginners…), but they can also give you real-time feedback and tips to help you squash bad habits from the get-go.

Usually, resorts offer two types of lessons: group lessons and private lessons. Group lessons are typically cheaper and provide instruction to a small group. Some of the drawbacks of group lessons are less personalized attention, potentially having to take a lesson with young children, and having to cater the group’s teachings to the least advanced person (meaning you can’t progress at your own pace).

Private lessons, on the other hand, are much more individualized, but they’re quite a bit more expensive. Typically, resorts will offer hourly, half-day, and full-day private lessons for just you or a small group of family and friends. I opted for a 3-hour private snowboarding lesson with Adam at Okemo Mountain Resort on my third day of wiping out constantly on the mountain, and it helped immensely.

Pro tip: Lots of ski resorts offer beginner deals that include rentals, lessons, and lift tickets for a heavily discounted price. If you are interested in learning how to snowboard, look out for these deals so you can save some money when you book.

4. Determine your stance

Once you have a plan for hitting the slopes, you’ll want to figure out your snowboarding stance. Your stance dictates which will be your front foot and which foot will be your back foot on the board. Unlike some other guides to snowboarding for beginners, we recommend formulating a hypothesis for your stance before heading to the resort so you can make the rental/learning process much easier on yourself.

Some people, especially those who have played certain sports or ridden a board before, will know intuitively which foot feels most comfortable in the forward position. Personally, I was a gymnast for many years growing up and tumbled left-footed, so I felt more comfortable with my left foot forward.

You’ll hear many people refer to these stances as “regular-footed” and “goofy-footed.” Regular means your left foot is forward in the board, and goofy means your right foot is forward. Generally, your back foot should be your more dominant foot. If you aren’t sure which foot should go forward, there are a couple of ways you can figure it out:

  • Think of how you’d kick a soccer ball. If you’d naturally kick with your right foot, you’re likely to ride with your left foot forward (regular). If you’d kick with your left foot, you’re likely to ride goofy-footed.
  • Have someone push you (lightly) from behind. Whichever foot you put forward for balance is likely to be your front foot on the board.
  • Take the stance you’d take while boxing or punching something. Which foot is forward? If it’s your left foot, you may be regular footed. If it’s your right foot, you may be goofy-footed.

Note that none of these tricks are “end-all be-all” ways to determine your snowboarding stance. The #1 best way to figure out if you are regular- or goofy-footed is to get on a board and see what feels right. Just like choosing your dominant writing hand, you can’t force the wrong stance.

5. Get in shape

None of our snowboarding tips for beginners will be as helpful as simply being in good physical shape before you hit the slopes. Having good amounts of physical strength and stamina is a critical part of being able to snowboard well and for long periods of time. Those who exercise at the gym regularly or are active outdoors with activities like hiking, climbing, or paddling should be totally fine out on the slopes. In particular, having strong legs and core muscles will help you tremendously with many of the movements necessary in snowboarding.

With that said, you may find yourself sore after snowboarding for a day or two, no matter how fit you are. This is normal! Snowboarding often works muscles you may not even know you have, and you’ll definitely feel those muscles after spending a long day shredding.

When You’re On the Slopes: Snowboarding Tips for Beginners

6. Don’t be afraid of falling

Before we get into any of the other snowboarding tips for beginners, the most important thing to know (in our opinion) is that you are absolutely, positively, definitely going to fall during the learning process. Ask anyone – even advanced snowboarders wipe out regularly! In our opinion, no list of beginner snowboarding tips is complete without one section addressing the fear of falling. The faster you accept and embrace the fear of falling, the quicker you’ll learn and develop confidence on the slopes.

It’s normal to be afraid to fall or injure yourself, and it’s a natural response to something scary or unfamiliar. But, if you come prepared with the right mindset and gear (don’t forget those helmets, wrist guards, knee pads, and padded shorts), you can take any falls or wipe outs like a champion. If you come to the slopes ready to learn (and fall), you’ll find that it’s not so terrifying after all.

Pro tip: Wear a helmet when you’re learning how to snowboard. You’ll often see people skiing and riding the slopes without one (including some of the images in this article), and we don’t think that’s very smart. Helmets can protect your brain in the event of a crash or fall, and these days, they make helmets so comfy and lightweight that you won’t even notice they’re there! You can usually rent helmets from any local ski shop or resort, but we’d recommend buying your own, especially given the events of 2020. Click here for our complete guide to the best ski & snowboard helmets for any budget.

7. Know the anatomy of your snowboarding gear

Whether you’re renting your equipment or using your own, you’ll need to know how to use your snowboarding gear before you step on the snow. A typical snowboarding setup is comprised of a board, bindings, and a pair of snowboarding boots.

The size of your board, bindings, and boots will depend on your height, weight, and shoe size. If you’re renting, the attendant at the shop should be able to get you set up with the right sizes with a few quick measurements. Make sure everything fits snugly but not too tightly – snowboarding boots are usually fairly comfortable and should fit right into the bindings on your board.

One of the most critical snowboarding tips for beginners is to learn the workings of these pieces of gear as soon as you get it, including how to buckle into your bindings, how to release your bindings, and how to tighten and adjust your boots. Buckling in and releasing your boots is something you’ll be doing often as a beginner, so it can really help to practice getting in and out of your bindings in your rental equipment before heading out to the slopes.

8. Learn to skate

The first step of snowboarding is getting to know your board and feeling comfortable riding it while it’s moving. “Skating” on the snow is the best way to do this. It’s a critical skill to have while moving around on flat surfaces or getting off the chairlift (which you’ll probably need to do quite frequently as a snowboarder).

Skating is basically riding the snowboard like a skateboard, with your front foot buckled into your bindings, while your back foot is unbuckled and pushing on the snow to propel you forward. You can either push the board with your foot behind you or in front of you. To stop, hang your heel off the back of the board or your toe off the front of the board, and pressing it lightly into the ground.

Here’s a great video that explains how to skate on a snowboard:

Video credit: Snowboard Addiction

We’d recommend experimenting with skating on a flat, snowy area or on a very slight incline. Don’t choose a hill that’s too steep, or you may have trouble stopping yourself!

9. Get comfortable on your edges with heel and toe slides

Once you’re comfortable skating on your board, it’s time to buckle into your board and learn how to get on your edges! Of all of the snowboarding tips for beginners on our list, this one is most important for learning how to control your board down the slopes.

There are two edges on a snowboard – your heel edge and your toe edge – which dictate the speed and direction you’ll be able to go. Many people start off with heel and toe slides as a drill to get a feel for your edges.

To do a heel slide, start by sitting on your butt and standing up on your board facing the bottom of the hill. If you have trouble standing, grab the edge of your board with one hand in between your feet and shift your weight forward. Once you’re standing, dig your heels slightly into the ground, then release them slightly. When you release them and stand with flatter feet, you should move forward just a little bit. As you begin digging your heels into the snow again, you should come to a stop. Do this several times to learn how much pressure will bring you to a stop and how much pressure will let you slide.

To do a toe slide, flip over to your hands and knees and stand up facing the top of the hill. This may feel unnatural to you, and that’s completely normal! Once you’re standing, you’ll do the same type of movement, except with your toes – you’ll dig your toes into the snow to stop, then release then to slide backward down the hill, then repeat over and over again as you continue to slide slowly down the hill.

This snowboarder is crushing her toe turns!

10. Master your J and S turns

Once you’ve learned how to skate and slide on your heels and toes, it’s time to start riding. J turns (and, subsequently, S turns) are critical movements that are taught in all lessons on snowboarding for beginners.

J turns combine skating and toe/heel slides to create a “J” shape on the slopes. To do this, you’ll skate straight on your board (with your back foot unbuckled to begin with), then apply pressure to your heels. While doing this, look in the direction you are turning. This heel turn will get your board to turn in the direction of your front foot (left for regular-footed, right for goofy-footed).

To turn the other way, you’ll start by skating straight forward, then you’ll apply pressure into your toes while looking in the direction of your back foot (right for regular-footed, left for goofy-footed).

S turns are simply linked J turns. You’ll start by riding straight down the hill, turning onto your heels, then riding straight again and turning onto your toes. This creates an “S” shape with your movements, hence its name. Most snowboarding is a series of large or small S turns, so once you’ve mastered this skill, you’re snowboarding!

Here’s an awesome, super helpful video on linking J turns to make S turns:

Video credit: SnowboardProCamp

11. Traverse the slopes

Traversing the slopes means riding diagonally down the slopes instead of straight down them. Once you’re beginning to link your J turns, you’ll want to traverse a little bit in between your turns. To do this, apply a tiny bit of pressure on your heel edge or toe edge, but not enough to come to a full stop. This should help you move slowly across the slope before making another turn.

12. Look (and turn your body) where you want to go

This is one of the most commonly used snowboarding tips for beginners, and for a good reason. If there were just one most helpful piece of advice I’d recommend on snowboarding for beginners, this is the one I’d choose. A lot of people (myself included) look toward the ground or the bottom of the hill at all times, but this can lead to poor weight control and, ultimately, falling.

Instead, look toward the direction you want to go, and align your body with the direction you’re looking. This means you’ll want to bring your gaze to the point where you want to go, then bring your neck, shoulders, and hips in alignment with that. When your whole body begins to shift its weight in the right direction, your board will follow naturally.

Beware the common issue of looking in one direction but not aligning the rest of your body with your gaze. This may cause you to catch an edge or attempt to turn when your weight isn’t distributed accordingly over your feet, causing a fall. Over time and with lots of practice, you’ll start to be able to feel where your weight needs to go to move how you want. Don’t try to force it!

Look where you want to go and your board will follow!

13. Bend your knees

Keeping your knees bent will help you avoid falling by absorbing the bumps caused by uneven ground. A lot of beginners make the mistake of locking up or stiffening their legs, often out of fear or nervousness. However, the “looser” you can make your knees, the less chance you’ll have of falling and the smoother your ride will be.

In the beginning, I found it helpful to slightly exaggerate bending my knees, especially on turns where my tendency was to lean too far on my back leg. Bending my knees more on my turns helped me center my weight and push weight forward onto my front leg. I also discovered that bent knees were particularly helpful when riding straight, as it helped me to keep my weight forward on my board instead of back (which often resulted in falls).

14. Avoid leaning too far on your back foot

Leaning too far on your back foot on turns or when getting off chairlifts is a natural tendency, but one that often ends in a wipeout (or slipping around, at the very least). It may feel unnatural, but it’s important to learn how to shift your weight toward the center of your board and forward toward your front foot. This will make turns and changing edges a lot easier, and will enable your front foot to control your movements (rather than your back foot acting as a rudder).

My snowboard instructor even went as far as saying that I should try to practice riding as if my back foot were lifted up slightly. I haven’t exactly attempted this, but it did help me think more about where my weight was centered as I was starting to ride more comfortably down the slopes.

After Hitting the Slopes: Snowboarding Tips for Beginners Moving Forward

15. Stretch & recover

With the allure of apres-ski drinking and hot-tubbing, it’s easy to forget that snowboarding is a serious physical activity that should be treated like any other sport. This means that stretching before and after hitting the slopes is critical for keeping your body slope-ready and ache-free. Doing activities like yoga that promote stretching and strengthening is a great way to wind down after a day of snowboarding. Alternatively, you can do some of these snowboarding stretches once you’re done for the day.

16. Drink tons of water

In the winter, it’s easy to get dehydrated because of the cold temperatures. However, anyone who has been snowboarding before knows that you can work up a sweat, and that hydration is incredibly important for staying in top shape on the slopes. Bring an insulated water bottle with hot water to warm up in between runs (or cold water, if you prefer it!) and be sure to sip on it throughout the day to stay hydrated.

After a day on the slopes, be sure to drink even more water to keep yourself hydrated throughout the evenings. Winter dehydration is a huge risk, and while doing energy-intensive things like skiing or snowboarding, it can be even more dangerous.

17. Make a learning advancement plan

Once you’ve gotten the hang of all the basic skills and drills we discussed in this post, you’ll finally be riding more or less proficiently down an easy slope. But what’s next? Once you’ve gotten the basics down, it’s always a good idea to think about what you’d like to learn – be it riding more advanced slopes, doing jumps and tricks and “butters,” riding in the backcountry, or all of the above. Use these aspirations to set goals for yourself.

For example, after I spent a couple days getting used to the green runs, I set a goal to do one blue run by the end of my first week and to write my own guide to snowboarding tips for beginners (which is what you’re reading now!). After that, I set a goal to do a double black run, learn to jump, and ride at least one terrain park before the end of the season. I’m still working on some of those goals, but hope to crush them by the end of this season.

As you get more and more comfortable on the slopes, consider investing in your own snowboard, bindings, and boots so that you can progress even further! Usually, the rental boards and equipment are less-than-ideal for advancing in your snowboarding, and having your own gear can help you improve and grow in the sport because it’s higher-quality, more lightweight, and fit exactly to your needs and preferences.


Snowboarding Tips for Beginners: Additional Resources

  • Snowboard Pro Camp – I loved these videos when I was learning and used them almost every day I was out on the slopes. Kevin shares some of the best snowboarding tips for beginners and has easy-to-follow tutorials to go along with them!
  • Backcountry – Backcountry is my absolute favorite place to get ski and snowboarding gear. I’ve bought basically all of my snowboarding gear this season from Backcountry and they often have really great sales.

Related Articles

When you’ve got someone close to you who’s constantly longing to strap on skis and hit the slopes, it might be difficult to think of an appropriate gift. A LOT of snowboarding and skiing gear is a) expensive, b) size-dependent, and c) not intuitive for people who don’t do those sports, so buying a present for these folks can be tricky. Don’t worry, we’ve got your back – this massive guide has 30 incredible gifts for skiers and snowboarders that they’ll use on the slopes and remember for years to come.

Most Practical Gifts for Skiers & Snowboarders

Smith Ski Goggles

Order on REI | Backcountry | Amazon

Goggles are a snowboarder or skier’s best friend: they keep snow, water, and wind out of your eyes, plus they make you look pretty freaking awesome. Smith ski goggles are very durable and come in a variety of colors, styles, and sizes.

One of the best things about Smith goggles is that they also come in a budget-friendly version that won’t break the bank – the Smith Drift for women and the Smith Range for men. There are also higher-end models that Smith makes that have all the bells and whistles you could possibly want.

Wildhorn Ski Helmet

A solid ski helmet is one of the best gifts for skiers and snowboarders because it will come in handy every time they’re on the slopes. While prices for these range substantially, we’ve found that Wildhorn helmets are well-respected as their ski helmets are comfortable, practical, and come with a built-in goggle strap.

Smartwool Base Layers

Buy on REI | Backcountry | Amazon

All snowboarders and skiers need warm baselayers, and they make for one of the most practical snowboarding and skiing gifts. Smartwool’s Merino 250 baselayer line (for both men and women offers extra-warm, cozy layers that wick sweat and moisture seamlessly on the slopes.

Burton Ski & Snowboard Jacket

A warm, waterproof ski jacket is essential to a fun day on the slopes. While there are tons of brands that make outerwear, Burton ski jackets are designed especially for winter sports, making them perfect gifts for snowboarders and skiers. Plus, they come in all kinds of fun patterns and colors!

The North Face Ski Pants

Order on REI | Backcountry | Amazon

Like a good, durable coat, waterproof ski pants are essential because, as everyone knows, skiers and snowboarders spent plenty of time sitting in the snow. The North Face Freedom Pants (for men & women) are some of the warmest and most durable ski pants that are perfect for a full day of shredding the slopes.

Hestra Heli Ski Gloves

Buy on REI | Backcountry | Amazon

Insulated gloves are a skier or snowboarder’s best friends, and the Hestra Heli Ski Gloves are excellent additions to any skier’s or snowboarder’s gear set. They come with cuffs so you won’t lose them, and they have e-tip functionality so you can use your touch screens while wearing them! (By the way, we have two complete guides on the best ski gloves and ski mittens – check those out for more options!)

Epic Pass

While neither cheap nor durable, an Epic Pass is the ultimate gift for the travel-loving skier. Usable at over 60 ski resorts all around the United States, the Epic Pass is one of the best gifts for skiers and snowboarders that money can buy.

Cheap Snowboarding & Skiing Gifts ($30 or Less)

Darn Tough Ski Socks

Order on REI | Backcountry | Amazon

Darn Tough ski socks make great companions out on the slopes because they’re comfortable, durable, and warm! We love them because of the extra cushioning they give our feet on cold, snowy days. Give one pair or a few for an extra special skiing or snowboarding gift this year.

What’s better than regular wool socks? Wool socks with mountains on them, duh. Skiers and snowboarders love to show off their love for the mountains, and these mountain-themed Darn Tough Yeti wool socks will surely come in handy on the slopes and for apres-ski.

HotHands Hand/Foot Warmers

When you’re out on the slopes on especially cold days, it’s so easy to get cold in your extremities. That’s why we recommend HotHands hand and foot warmers as one of the best gifts for skiers and snowboarders. They’re inexpensive and are perfect to tuck into gloves or boots for a blast of warmth in otherwise arctic conditions.

Packable Clothesline

You know what happens if ski/snowboard gear doesn’t dry properly? It starts to STINK. Luckily, for ski trips and winter getaways, a packable clothesline is a great tool to hang damp clothes after long days on the slopes. It is a cheap and practical gift for snowboarders and skiers that they’ll use every time they’re at a ski resort.

Snacks for the Slopes

Snacks are a gift that keeps on giving, especially out on the slopes where you’re expending energy and burning calories left and right.

From our own experience, some snacks that skiers and snowboarders like include:

  • Clif bars
  • Kind bars
  • Gu gels (caffeinated and uncaffeinated)
  • Trail mix
  • Jerky (vegan and meat varieties)

Hertel Super Hot Sauce Ski/Snowboard Wax

Once you’re a more advanced skier or snowboarder, you’ll most likely want to wax your gear to optimize your speed on the slopes. Hertel Super Hot Sauce Ski & Snowboard Wax is an all-temperature wax that lasts for three days and doesn’t require an iron (though you can use it that way if you’d like). It’s one of the most useful and budget friendly gifts for skiers and snowboarders that they can use every time they hit the slopes.

Fifty Places to Ski and Snowboard Before You Die by Chris Santella

If your loved one is a person who prefers books with photos and gorgeous visuals, Fifty Places to Ski and Snowboard Before You Die by Chris Santella is a fantastic book to leaf through and get inspired. You’ll learn about the most incredible, jaw-dropping, and challenging trails in the entire world, with some stunning photos to boot.

The Art of Fear by Kristen Ulmer

There’s nothing better than retreating back to your cabin after a day on the slopes and spending the evening reading a good book…about hitting the slopes! The Art of Fear was written by professional skier Kristen Ulmer about embracing fear and how that applies to snow sports and life in general. This easy, inspiring read is fantastic for those who love snow sports as well as people wanting to understand how to handle fear better.

Under an Arctic Sky by Chris Burkard

Chris Burkard’s Under an Arctic Sky is an epic film about surfing under the northern lights. It isn’t exactly about skiing or snowboarding, but it’s a really spectacular story about chasing waves and winter sports in some of Iceland’s most gorgeous landscapes. It’s a great gift to give your winter-loving friends and family…then watch it with them.

Freeskier Magazine Subscription

What’s more inspiring or entertaining than leafing through an award-winning magazine on your favorite topic? (Answer: nothing.) Freeskier Magazine is all about skiing and snowboarding, and a subscription is one of the most unique skiing and snowboarding gifts you can give to your favorite winter sports lover.

Useful & Clever Skiing & Snowboarding Gifts

Turtle Fur Neck Warmer

Order on Turtle Fur | Amazon

For outdoor lovers, there are few things as versatile as a Buff. They advertise that it can be worn in 12+ different ways, and it’s touted as 4 times warmer than microfiber. A Turtle Fur Neck Warmer is great for skiers and snowboarders to wear under a thick coat, to use as a scarf, or to hold their hair back under their helmets.

(By the way, we’ve also got a complete guide to the best neck gaiters/neck warmers for skiers and snowboarders!)

PHOOZY Thermal Phone Case

If you’ve ever been out in the cold for an extended amount of time with your phone, you’ll know that the batteries tend to die much more quickly. A PHOOZY Thermal Phone Case can keep your phone warm when you’re not using it, maintaining the battery for longer and ensuring it doesn’t get soaked in the snow.

Hydro Flask Water Bottle

Hydration is a very important part of staying healthy while participating in winter sports, as the action can definitely still dehydrate you. Whether your skier/snowboarder likes their water hot or cold, a Hydro Flask water bottle can keep it that way. Hydro Flask boasts that its bottles keep water cold for 24 hours and hot for 12 hours…definitely enough for a full day out skiing or snowboarding.

Foam Roller

Spending a day (or several) out on the slopes can be fun, but can also cause all kinds of muscle aches and pains. A foam roller is a great tool for stretching and relieving tension after hours of active winter sports, and is one of the best gifts for snowboarders and skiers.

Ski or Snowboard Boots

One of the things that’s most uncomfortable about rental gear is the footwear. You can partially solve this problem for your favorite winter sports lover by purchasing them a pair of their own ski or snowboard boots. You can find tons of great ski and snowboard boots on REI or Backcountry.

Note: ski boots and snowboard boots are different, so make sure you buy the correct kind for your loved one’s preferences!

Athletico Boot Backpack

Once your beloved skier or snowboarder is more seasoned, they’re going to need a place to put all their awesome gear (like the stuff in this list!). The Athletico Boot Backpack is the perfect all-in-one bag for skiers and snowboarders. There’s space for a helmet, boots, goggles, and extra gear, all in a lightweight and breathable fabric.

Black Diamond Ski Poles

Order on REI | Backcountry | Amazon

While lots of ski resorts do offer pole rentals, if you’d prefer some that are more lightweight and better customized to your size, these Black Diamond Razor Carbon ski poles are a fantastic companion for skiers anywhere. Unfortunately, these aren’t relevant for snowboarders, but they work well as a gift for mid-level to advanced skiers looking for a gear upgrade!

Technology Gifts for Skiers & Snowboarders

Jomst Rechargeable Hand Warmer

While we mentioned some disposable hand warmers earlier in this guide, we’d be remiss if we didn’t offer a zero-waste solution as well. Like we said earlier, keeping extremities warm while out on the slopes is a real challenges for skiers and snowboarders, and a Jomst rechargeable hand warmer can be the perfect solution for long days out in the snow.

Waterproof Battery Pack

It gets harder to keep your phone charged the longer you’re out in the cold, so you can probably imagine this being a big challenge for skiers and snowboarders. If you give the gift of a waterproof solar battery pack, however, your skier or snowboarder can recharge while they’re in the sun/snow, and plug in while they’re on the lifts. Pretty nifty, eh?

DryGuy DX Forced Air Boot Dryer

Full disclosure: this is a totally unnecessary item, but a really cool and useful one for skiers and snowboarders, especially if they’re planning to hit the slopes several days in a row or throughout the course of a season. The more someone skis or boards, the more damp their boots end up – this DryGuy DX Boot Dryer ensures that they’re fully dry before the next use. It’s one of our favorite ski gadgets and one we’d recommend for any avid skier or snowboarder!

Garmin Instinct Tundra Watch

Order on Amazon | REI

Like many other athletes, skiers and snowboarders are often obsessed with tracking stats and logging their trails. The Garmin Tundra watch does exactly that and was designed specifically for winter sports, and is one of the more useful gifts for skiers and snowboarders out there.

GoPro Hero9 Black

Order on Amazon | REI

A GoPro Hero9 Black is an excellent gift for the avid skier/snowboarder who wants to document their adventures. Portable, weatherproof, and high-quality, a GoPro will help your favorite winter sports lover capture and relive their favorite moments on the slopes again and again.

Pro tip: if you decide to get a GoPro as a skiing/snowboarding gift, don’t forget a helmet mount so they can use it hands-free!

Additional Resources


Did you find this post helpful? Don’t forget to bookmark it or pin it for later!

Hikers are a funny breed: they’re always outdoors, they love weird obstacles like chains and scrambles, and they are OBSESSED with their favorite gear. Ask any hiker what their favorite hiking gear is and they’ll probably spit out a recommendation that has at least 4 words in it. Needless to say, choosing the best gifts for hikers can be challenging, because whatever you give needs to be able to withstand many, many miles of adventures.

Luckily, as avid hikers ourselves, we’ve compiled this guide to the best hiking gifts that your loved ones will actually use out on the trails. Trust us – we’ve used every single one of them ourselves!

Overall Best Gifts for Hikers

Waterproof Hiking Boots

Order on Backcountry | REI | Amazon

The only item that a hiker really needs to get out on the trails is a good set of shoes, and a set of waterproof boots is one of the best hiking gifts for an adventurer that loves to be outdoors, rain or shine. The Merrell Moab 2 Mid Waterproof boots (for men and women) are lightweight, durable, and waterproof, with thick treads and Gore-Tex that will keep your feet safe and dry, no matter the conditions. For more hiking boot recommendations, check out our favorite women’s hiking boots and men’s hiking boots.

Black Diamond Trekking Poles

Order on Backcountry | REI | Amazon

Hikers often face trails and conditions where extra support is extremely helpful. That’s why one of the most useful gifts for hikers is a set of durable, portable trekking poles. Black Diamond Distance Carbon Z Trekking Poles are perfect for traveling hikers, as they’ll fit into a standard suitcase and are extremely light weight. (You can also check out our guide to the best trekking poles to see our recommendations at every price point!)

Hydro Flask Water Bottle

Hydration is a very important part of staying healthy while hiking, as hours in the sun and on the trails can dehydrate you. To keep water ice cold (or steaming hot during cold weather), a Hydro Flask water bottle is the perfect hiking companion. Hydro Flask boasts that its bottles keep water cold for 24 hours and hot for 12 hours…definitely enough insulation capacity for a full day out on the trails in any conditions.

Osprey Day Pack

Order on Osprey | Backcountry | REI | Amazon

Hikers need to carry gear, water, snacks, and extra clothing for longer hikes, and having a day pack that feels good and distributes weight evenly is absolutely critical. Plus, they definitely don’t want to carry all their stuff in your hands while they’re scrambling up rocks, right? Osprey day packs are hands down the best and most durable option for day packs – we recommend a size between 18 and 30 liters for day hikes.

The North Face Venture Rain Jacket

Order on Backcountry | REI | Amazon

Every hiker knows that conditions in the mountains can change in an instant. That’s why we recommend a rain jacket as one of the smartest and most practical gifts for hikers. We love The North Face Venture 2 Jacket (for women and men) – it is a versatile, lightweight, waterproof jacket for rainy and wet hiking conditions. Ours have lasted for years and keep moisture out in rainy or adverse weather.

PrAna Hiking Pants

Order on PrAna | Backcountry | REI | Amazon

Comfy clothing is an important piece of gear for any hiker, and pants are no exception. The best hiking pants are sweat-wicking, breathable, and flexible. PrAna’s Brion pants for men and Halle pants for women are the best hiking pants we’ve found – they’re lightweight, stretchy, and durable for day hikes and multi-day treks.

Merino Wool Base Layers

Order on Backcountry | REI | Amazon

Many hikers, especially those who hike at higher altitudes, need warm base layers, and they make for some of the most practical hiking gifts out there. Smartwool’s Merino 250 baselayer line offers extra-warm, cozy layers that wick sweat and moisture seamlessly on the trails.

Patagonia Compressible Puffer

Order on Patagonia | Backcountry | REI

When hiking in colder temperatures, it can be important to bring some extra layers, especially if you’re going to be at altitude. The Patagonia Down Sweater is our favorite compressible puffer because it’s a sustainably-made, warm, and cozy thermal layer for cold conditions. When paired with a rain jacket, it can keep hikers warm even in light snow!

Merrell Trail Runners

Order on Backcountry | REI | Amazon

Not all trails warrant wearing big, bulky waterproof hiking shoes. In some cases, lightweight, breathable trail runners can be a much better option, especially in hot climates. Merrell Trail Runners are some of the best trail running shoes on the market, and they make styles for men and women in a variety of different colors.

Cheap Gifts for Hikers on a Budget ($25 and Under)

Smartwool Hiking Socks

It might seem obvious, but think, durable socks are a must-have item in any hiker’s wardrobe. Smartwool’s hiking socks are great companions out on the trails! They’re warm, quick drying, and are super cushioned and comfortable. Give one pair or a few as extra special gifts for hikers in your life.

Quick Dry Towel

A towel can come in handy on any hiking trip. From humid, sweaty trails to impromptu swimming sessions, hikers can always use a towel that’s small and thin enough to carry around in a day pack. Youphoria Outdoors makes an affordable quick-dry microfiber towel that comes in a lot of fun colors and is perfect for shoving in your bag on the way out to the trails.

Neff Beanie

In colder or windy conditions, a beanie is one of the most practical gifts for hikers because it can help keep them safe and warm. For hiking, you don’t need anything fancy, so something like this affordable beanie from Neff is a perfect stocking stuffer for your favorite hiker.

The North Face e-Tip Hiking Gloves

While only really relevant for colder climates, a good pair of gloves can help hikers stay outdoors later in the season, and in higher altitudes where the air tends to be chillier and windier. The North Face e-Tip Gloves are a great hiking companion because they work with touch screens like phones and tablets…meaning you don’t have to take them off for anything, really.

Hiking Snacks

Snacks are a gift that keeps on giving, especially out on the trails where you’re expending energy and burning calories left and right.

From our own experience, some snacks that hikers like include:

  • Clif bars
  • Kind bars
  • Gu gels (caffeinated and uncaffeinated)
  • Trail mix
  • Jerky (vegan and meat varieties)

Carabiners

Carabiners are literally the most useful and versatile item for hikers. Use them to strap things on your bags, to your pants, or onto trees. Hook your bags to your tent while you’re sleeping, or hang dry wet clothes. You can buy a set of 10 colorful carabiners for cheap, and they’ll last your hiker forever.

Hiking Trowel

When you’ve got to go, you’ve got to go…and a trowel can help you cover up when you’re doing your business in the woods. The best, most useful trowels are lightweight and have a small loop to hook to the outside of your backpack (with a carabiner!). This hiking trowel is a great, inexpensive gift option for the serious hiker.

Emergency Blanket

What better way to show your loved one you care than by buying them something that will keep them safe? An emergency blanket is a must for hikers, and while its one of the more ‘boring’ gifts for hikers on our list, we truly believe every hiker should bring an emergency blanket with them on hikes, every time. In the event of a natural disaster, or if hikers get lost or injured, an emergency blanket as a thermal insulation tool can mean the different between life and death.

Duct Tape

Duct tape is a hiker’s best friend. Hikers are notorious for destroying their stuff (myself included, no shame!), and duct tape is something we always bring to help mend tears, holes, and animal bites in our stuff until we can get it properly fixed (or, sometimes, forever). If you’re looking for one of the cheapest and most useful gifts for hikers, why not grab a roll or two of Duck Tape duct tape? They come in all kinds of fun colors and will definitely be used at some point or another on the trails by your favorite hiker.

Wild by Cheryl Strayed

There are few novels in the hiking genre than Wild by Cheryl Strayed. This popular hiking novel is a classic, especially for adventurous female hikers who are looking for an emotional and physical journey through the Pacific Crest Trail with renowned author Cheryl Strayed.

A Walk in the Woods by Bill Bryson

For a great fireside book or a read for the hammock after a long day on the trails, A Walk in the Woods by Bill Bryson is a quintessential read. As an intimate, detailed, entertaining journey into the backwoods of the Appalachian Trail, it’s a fantastic and memorable read for anyone who is passionate about exploration, hiking, or seeing the world and nature from a different lens.

Epic Hikes of the World by Lonely Planet

For a more visual read, Lonely Planet’s Epic Hikes of the World is an inspiring book to have around any hiker’s home. While it’s a hardcover book and not really suitable for taking on the trails, this book is one of the most memorable and fun gifts for hikers in their homes. Leafing through this book is like taking a hiking adventure around the world, with some of the most fun, beautiful, and treacherous treks all over the globe (and world-class photos, too!).

Super Practical Gifts for Hikers

Buff

For outdoor lovers, there are few things as versatile as a Buff. They advertise that it can be worn in 12+ different ways, and it’s touted as 4 times warmer than microfiber. A Buff is great for hikers to wear as a scarf, to tie hair back, or to protect their faces from dust and wind.

ENO DoubleNest Hammock

When you’ve been hiking for hours and are ready for a rest, there’s no better feeling than setting up your hammock between two tall trees and relaxing with someone you love. An ENO DoubleNest Hammock is one of coolest gifts for hikers that you can give to a person or couple who loves being outdoors…especially out on the trails. It’s super portable, lightweight, and easy to set up basically anywhere.

Black Diamond Head Lamp

Sometimes, the best times to hike are in the early morning and late in the afternoon. However, if your favorite hiker plans to hike in non-optimal daylight, it’s critical to bring a head lamp. Needless to say, a head lamp is one of the best gifts for hikers because it’s truly an essential item. Our favorite head lamp is the Black Diamond Spot – it’s lightweight, durable, and isn’t too expensive.

Polarized Sunglasses

Don’t underestimate how powerful the sun can be on a long day of hiking. One of the most useful gifts for hikers is a pair of high-quality, polarized sunglasses to keep their eyes safe and protected while exposed to the sun. There are tons of polarized sunglasses ranging in style and price available, so you’ll have to choose based on your favorite hiker’s preferences.

Foldable Wide-Brimmed Hat

For hotter or sun-exposed hiking, a brimmed hat is a must to protect hikers’ eyes and faces. As one of the cheaper and more practical gifts for hikers, this wide-brimmed hat is a packable companion for any hiker, especially in places like Zion or Joshua Tree where shady spots can be few and far between.

Platypus Water Reservoir

The only thing better than a sturdy water bottle is not having to bring a water bottle at all! With a water reservoir, a hiker can simply stuff the water bag into their day pack and sip from it as needed from the nozzle throughout the day. The Platypus water reservoir is generally well-liked and durable, and it comes at a reasonable price point, too.

First Aid Kit

While it’s not glamorous, a first aid kit can be one of the best gifts for hikers because it’s a must-have for safety on the trails. A small, portable pre-assembled first aid kit, which includes a small bag to hold everything, is a great starting point for a hike. This one is small and light enough to carry anywhere, including a day pack on the trails.

SteriPen Adventurer UV Water Purification System

For hikers, having access to clean water is a must, so a water purification system is one of the most critical gifts for hikers that you can give. We recommend the USB-rechargeable SteriPen Ultra, which is must lighter than the other products in the SteriPen line, and purifies water using UV light.

Solar Rechargeable Battery Pack

It gets harder to keep your phone charged the longer you’re out on the trails, so you can probably imagine this being a big challenge for hikers. If you give the gift of a waterproof solar battery pack, your favorite hiker can recharge the battery as they’re hiking. Pretty nifty, eh?

Technology Gifts and Gadgets for Hikers

Garmin Instinct Hiking Watch

Like many other athletes, hikers are often obsessed with tracking steps and logging their trails. The Garmin Instinct watch does exactly that and was designed specifically for outdoor adventures. If you want to splurge on a useful and totally awesome gift for an adventurous person in your life, is one of the more innovative gifts for hikers out there.

Garmin Foretrex Hiking GPS

For passionate backcountry hikers, a GPS is a must. While mostly used by adventurous hikers and backpackers, a GPS can come in handy for navigation for any hiker out in the wild. This Garmin Foretrex GPS is wearable and works anywhere, so you don’t need to worry about having “service” of any kind.

Rechargeable Hand Warmers

Keeping extremities warm while out on the trails during cold weather is a real challenges for hikers, and a rechargeable hand warmer can be the perfect solution for long days out in snow or sub-freezing temperatures.

GoPro HERO9 Black

A GoPro Hero Black is an excellent gift for the avid hiker who wants to document their adventures. Portable, weatherproof, and high-quality, a GoPro will help your favorite outdoor lover capture and relive their favorite moments on the trails again and again.

Additional Resources


Did you find this post helpful? Don’t forget to bookmark it or pin it for later!